Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 20, 2006

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Stand with Israel National Solidarity Rally (Conference of Presidents)
Today, Wed.,
September 20,
12 Noon,

Hammarskjold Plaza, 2nd Ave. at 47 St., NYC

In-Depth Issues:

Warren Buffett: Risk in Israel Is Equal to U.S. - David Rosenberg and Alisa Odenheimer (Bloomberg)
    Warren Buffett, the world's second-richest man, said during his first visit to Iscar, an Israeli toolmaker that his company bought a week before the war in Lebanon began: "Over the long term, the U.S. and Israel have exactly the same risk factor."
    See also Buffett's First Foreign Purchase Hit by Rockets (Chicago Tribune)
    Legendary investor Warren Buffett visited his first overseas purchase Monday, traveling to northern Israel, which was pelted last month by rockets fired by Hizballah.
    "I knew where it was when we bought it," he said. "What you have here is a remarkable group of people doing remarkable things in their field, achieving terrific results all over the world from here, based right here, eight miles from the Lebanese border."

Virgins of Paradise Video Returns to PA TV - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    A music video depicting a Shahid (Martyr for Allah) being rewarded by marrying the Virgins of Paradise has returned to PA television.
    The video had been broadcast several times a day during the PA terror war (2000-2005) as part of the PA campaign promoting suicide terror.
    After an absence of more than a year, PA TV has begun broadcasting this video clip regularly for the past month.

Federal Agents Raid Muslim Charity in Michigan - Niraj Warikoo (Detroit Free Press)
    Federal counterterrorism agents raided the headquarters for a Muslim charity - Life for Relief and Development - in Southfield on Monday, according to the FBI.

New AWACS Enhances IAF's Vision - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The first of three Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes purchased from the U.S. by the IDF arrived in Israel Tuesday.
    Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy said the plane was an essential operational tool that would be utilized to create aerial pictures deep inside enemy territory while at the same time serving as a warning system for incoming aerial threats.

Useful Reference:

Building Security in the Broader Middle East - Philip Zelikow (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    Remarks of State Department counselor Philip Zelikow, 15Sep06 (pdf file).

Key Links 
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush Reaches Out to Muslims at UN - Nedra Pickler
    President Bush, speaking at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, assured Muslims that he is not waging war against Islam. "Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. This propaganda is false and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam," Bush said. He told Syrians that their leaders have allowed the country to become a "crossroad for terrorism" and their government must end support for terror so they can live in peace.
        Speaking to Iranians, he said their country's future has been clouded because "your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons." He declared that Iran "must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions."  (AP/TIME)
        See also Text: President Bush Addresses UN General Assembly (White House)
  • Iran's Leader Says UN Controlled by U.S., Israel - Paul Richter
    Iran's president told the UN on Tuesday that the organization had become a tool used by the world's powerful to oppress the weak, and called for a radical overhaul. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Text: Iranian President Ahmadinejad's Speech at UN General Assembly (IRNA/
  • France Now Opposes Iran Sanctions - Maggie Farley
    On Monday, French President Jacques Chirac dealt a significant blow to the Bush administration's effort to slow Iran's nuclear development, saying his government would join Russia and China in resisting the U.S. push for sanctions against Tehran. "I am never in favor of sanctions," Chirac told Europe 1 radio. "I have never observed that sanctions were very effective." Chirac proposed a compromise in which the Security Council would suspend the threat of sanctions and Iran would suspend enrichment of uranium while the two sides talked. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Sanctions Against Iran Would Target Dual-Use Items - Deborah Tate
    Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nick Burns told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday that any sanctions against Iran would initially seek to curb Tehran's access to civilian technologies that could help it build nuclear bombs. Such action, he said, has the support of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. (VOA News)
  • France Warns Against Hizballah Arms in Lebanon - Herve Asquin
    French President Jacques Chirac has warned against a continued Hizballah armed presence in southern Lebanon. "It is absolutely normal to have a current which expresses politically what the Hizballah part of Lebanese public opinion thinks," Chirac told Europe 1 radio in Paris. "What is unacceptable is to express it by the use of force, with armed militias....No country accepts that part of its territory be controlled by armed militias."
        On Monday, China announced it was bolstering its peacekeeping forces in Lebanon to 1,000, in what analysts said was an attempt to reinforce Beijing's role in international affairs. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Israel Charges Three Captured Hizballah Fighters with Murder - Jim Teeple
    Israeli authorities on Monday charged three Hizballah militants captured in Lebanon with murder and other terrorism-related crimes. Israeli officials say the three are not prisoners of war, but terrorists who will be tried as common criminals. The three were allegedly involved in the July 12 Hizballah raid into Israel, during which two Israeli soldiers were abducted. Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said, "The crimes that were committed and the attacks that happened did take place on Israeli soil, and this is the background and the basis of the decision that has been made [to charge] these three individuals." (VOA News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Youth Wounded in Palestinian Rocket Attack - Michal Grinberg
    A 15-year-old from the Bedouin village of Rahat was hit in the chest by shrapnel and moderately wounded when a rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza hit a kibbutz in Israel's western Negev region on Wednesday. A second rocket landed in the greenhouses of the Erez communal farm that borders Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
  • Gunmen Attack PA News Agency Office in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Amr al-Fara, head of the official PA news agency Wafa in Khan Yunis, was severely beaten Tuesday by five masked gunmen who stormed his office and destroyed all the equipment and furniture. Fatah officials said they were almost certain that the attack was carried out by Hamas. Hamas spokesmen pointed out that Abbas was using PA-funded media to defame Hamas and undermine its government. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • President's UN Speech Contains Initiative on Israel-Palestinian Peace - Editorial
    The buried lead in Bush's UN remarks was his announcement of a potentially significant U.S. initiative for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Bush spoke with a new urgency about the need for negotiations to achieve a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. He reaffirmed U.S. support for the "road map" for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations agreed on in 2002. And he said Secretary of State Rice would lead a renewed diplomatic effort in the region.
        While this might sound like diplomatic boilerplate, it amounts to a subtle change in direction. In May, Bush seemed receptive to Prime Minister Olmert's proposals for unilateral Israeli withdrawal from parts of the West Bank, a plan predicated on the idea that the road map had become irrelevant. Now the president has unfolded the map again and invited Palestinians to take advantage of it. Bush said Hamas should "serve the interests of the Palestinian people." "Abandon terror, recognize Israel's right to exist, honor agreements, and work for peace." That may sound like a stern injunction, but it also offers Hamas a route to respectability. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Worm in the Apple - Editorial
    New Yorkers have, God knows, welcomed plenty of truly disagreeable dignitaries to our shores - Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat. And now we have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, here as official head of state, notwithstanding the fact that he has pulled out every stop to become the civilized world's worst nightmare. This time, we gag that our streets are being walked by a man who showers terrorist groups with funds and arms, who questions whether 9/11 was a Western conspiracy, who doesn't trouble to conceal his views that Israel is to be annihilated, that the Holocaust never happened, and that since it didn't, the job is up to him. Ahmadinejad has openly defied every Security Council call for compliance with its peacemaking wishes and continues to assert that Iran is divinely entitled to secret nuclear programs that UN inspectors aren't permitted to inspect.
        If the UN wants to give a speaking invite to a man who regularly spits in its face, well, there's not much to be done about diplomatic courtesies. We're stuck with Ahmadinejad. We try to be polite. Welcome to New York, you medieval goon. (New York Daily News)
  • Facts and Myths about the Israeli-Hizballah War - William M. Arkin
    We have grown exaggerated in describing war. The words "massacre," "genocide," and "war crimes" flow too freely. During a recent visit to Lebanon, I didn't see any massacres, period. I didn't see any wholesale killing of civilians. There was no genocide.
        Fact: Hizballah operated from southern Lebanese villages and towns, virtually owning their controlled areas. They managed to fire almost 4,000 rockets into Israel and another 1,000 anti-tank missiles against Israeli forces on the border and in southern Lebanon. This means hundreds if not thousands of combatants, scores if not hundreds of launch and supply points. To say Hizballah was nowhere near villages where the Israelis killed civilians or that Israeli attacks were unconnected to Hizballah is false. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Priorities at the 61st UN General Assembly (Israel Foreign Ministry)

    • The Northern Border - Israel will spare no diplomatic effort to see the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 in full, and will highlight Israel's struggle with terrorist elements that have dominated the politics in our region and dragged the region into war.
    • Palestinian Organs in the UN - Israel believes that the time is right to deal with the mandates of the Palestinian organs in the UN, by abolishing them or merging them with other mandates or organs in the Secretariat. Over the years, the General Assembly (GA) and the Councils established 120 mandates and procedures relating to the Palestinian issue. Israel views the maintaining of these mandates and organs as superfluous and one-sided and as a distorted and wasteful use of the resources of member states against a fellow member state, whose narrative is neglected.
    • Annual Resolutions Relating to the Conflict - The General Assembly votes on about 70 resolutions every year, of which about 20 deal with the Israeli-Arab conflict. The need to limit the number of annual pro-Palestinian resolutions, or to consolidate them, dovetails with the proposals of the Secretary General to streamline the work of the GA and to make it more effective.
    • UNRWA - The UN agency for relief and work has become, after 60 years, the second biggest employer of Palestinians operating in the PA. (UNRWA operates also in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.) UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian problem, rather than resolving the refugee status of the people or rehabilitating them. It devotes all its resources to three functions that are usually run by a state or governing authority: elementary education, public health, and food security. We believe it is possible, in the long term, to transfer the daily tasks, together with existing budgets, of the agency to governmental bodies in the PA, as should be done in Jordan and elsewhere.
    • The Human Rights Council - The UN upgraded the Commission for Human Rights to the status of a council. Israel voted against its establishment, together with the U.S., due to the worry that the new council would not be an improvement over the commission it replaced. Indeed, since its first meeting, it has discriminated against Israel. The council has convened an emergency session twice in its short history - once regarding Gaza and once regarding Lebanon, and in both cases decided on action against Israel. The international community should know that the council is failing to deal with real humanitarian crises and cases of serious violations of human rights in other parts of the world because it is dealing nearly exclusively with the Middle East and particularly with Israel.

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